Vital vaccinations

Vaccination is one of the most powerful tools we utilise to help keep your pet healthy. Vaccinations are safe. They have minimal (if any) side effects and we recommend you vaccinate your pet because, above all, they work.

Quick Vaccination Facts:
  • Vaccinations protect against potentially fatal diseases.
    Many dangerous or life-threatening animal diseases are preventable with the right vaccinations.
  • Vaccinations protect other pets in the community. 
    When there are a greater number of pets vaccinated, the spread of disease is greatly reduced. (This if often referred to as herd immunity.)
  • Vaccinations protect your pet when they are at their most vulnerable.
    If your pet is old, or unwell, their immune system may be weak. Vaccinations ensure that they are protected even in this state.
  • Vaccinations mean you can board your pet.
    Kennels and catteries require that pets be up-to-date with their vaccinations. This comes in handy in family emergencies, or if you decide to go away on holiday.
  • Vaccinations save money. 
    The cost of keeping your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date is minimal when compared to the cost of treating a preventable disease. In other words, it’s better to be safe now, than sorry later!
Core and non-core vaccines

Vaccines are grouped into either core or non-core vaccines. Core vaccines should be administered to all pets to protect them from disease, no matter their circumstance. Core vaccines help protect your pets from life-threatening diseases that can be found, or contracted, anywhere:

Core vaccines for dogs protect against 
Canine distemper virus 
Canine adenovirus (hepatitis)
Canine parvovirus
Kennel cough

Core vaccines for cats protect against
Feline parvovirus 
Feline calicivirus 
Feline herpesvirus
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)

Non-core vaccines are not always necessary. This is because non-core vaccines are only required by animals whose location, environment, or lifestyle places them at risk of contracting specific infections.
For example, non-core vaccines protect against:
Leptospira interrogans in dogs, and Feline leukaemia virus and Chlamydia felis in cats.

Remember, we are always available to help identify any risk to your pet’s health. A quick chat, or a check up, can help us determine if your pet needs a non-core vaccination.

How often should you vaccinate your pet?

This depends on the type of vaccine given. For instance, some vaccines will only protect your pet for a year, and there are other vaccines that will give your pet three years protection. A vital part of being a good pet owner is keeping up to date with your pet’s vaccinations.

It’s important that, if you are unsure of your pet’s vaccination status, you talk to us as soon as possible.

A Word from our Vets:

“No matter how often you vaccinate your pet, it is important that we perform a health check on your pet at least once a year.  This helps monitor all aspects of their health. We look to their dental, heart, and joint health, their weight and mobility, and look out for any new lumps or bumps.”

Itchy and scratchy

You don’t need us to tell you that an episode of itchy and scratchy can be extremely frustrating for your pet. If the cycle of itch, scratch, rub and lick it continues, it can leave your pet feeling uncomfortable, frustrated and downright miserable. Not to mention the need for ongoing veterinary visits and medication!

A common ‘itchy skin’ condition we see in dogs is atopic dermatitis.
This inflammatory disease is caused by a reaction to allergens in the environment, similar to the common triggers of asthma and hayfever in humans. It is particularly troublesome in Spring and Summer but can occur all year round.

Allergens that can cause a problem include: 
  • Grasses
  • Trees
  • Plant pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Insects
  • Moulds

The signs associated with atopic dermatitis generally consist of itching, scratching, rubbing, biting, and licking. They usually appear in dogs between the ages of 1 and 6 years old.

Common sites your dog may be itchy:
  • Ears (recurrent ear infections are common)
  • The feet and in between the toes
  • The armpits
  • The groin and anal glands
  • Around the eyes

Diagnosis and management of atopic dermatitis relies on a thorough history of your dog’s symptoms and a thorough physical examination. It is essential that all potential parasitic causes (such as the common the flea) and food allergies are ruled out.
Your dog may also undergo further allergy testing and these results can be used to formulate a unique desensitising allergy vaccine.

When it comes to managing the itchy pet, there is, unfortunately, no magic pill that cures all cases. It’s all about prevention, careful management and taking action before things get out of control.
The good news is that there are drugs available that can greatly improve your dog’s comfort and we can discuss these with you.

There are even a few things you can do at home to help your pet stay itch free:
  • Be vigilant with flea prevention all year round for all pets in your family.
    Fleas are THE major cause of an itchy pet and consistent use of flea treatment is easier and cheaper than trying to get rid of the itch. Ask us for the best flea treatment available for your pet.
  • A premium balanced diet is essential to keep your pet’s skin and coat in top shape. This will provide a good barrier against potential allergens – ask us for a recommendation.
  • Always wash your dog in pet-approved shampoo and conditioner. A product containing ceramides can help rebuild the epidermal barrier and reduce allergen exposure.
  • Medication to help reduce the immune system’s response to the allergen can greatly reduce an itch, and can be used both during flare-ups and for ongoing management – chat with us to find out what’s suitable for your pet.
  • If you notice your pet is itching, licking, biting, or rubbing, you should arrange a check-up with us ASAP. The sooner we settle the itch, the less likely your pet is to cause self-trauma and secondary skin infections.
If you would like more information about skin disease and your dog we are on hand to provide you with the best help and advice!

Is your pet overweight?

When it comes to your pet, you might think that carrying a few extra kilos isn’t a big deal. Unfortunately, even slightly overweight pets are at an increased risk of developing a host of diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, respiratory disorders and diabetes.

Pets come in all shapes and sizes and there’s no ideal weight for every breed. The key is to know what to look out for so you can identify when your pet is getting a bit portly.

Here are our top tips for determining if your pet is carrying a few too many kilos:

  • Look at your pet from above – an overweight pet will have lost definition of their waist. Instead of an hourglass figure, they may resemble a barrel on legs.  
  • Have a feel of your pet’s ribs – if you can’t feel their ribs easily when you run your hands over their sides, they are hidden under a layer of fat. In some cases, you may be able to feel rolls of fat over the ribs.
  • Can you see their neck? A very obese pet may have neck fat, a pendulous tummy as well as fat deposits over the hips.

The very best way to determine whether your pet is overweight is to drop in for a weight check with us. This will allow us to score your pet’s body condition and, if necessary, start a weight loss plan.

Thankfully, getting your pet to lose weight is easier than you think.

Physical exercise is a must, and it will be crucial to monitor the amount, as well as what type of food you are feeding your pet. Get your family involved in the process too, get them measuring the correct scoops of food per feeding, and stop them sneaking scraps from the dinner table to the pampered pet!

It’s also easy to overdo the treats at home and you might not be aware just how much of an impact these treats are having on your pet’s weight. Keep these calorie translator facts in mind when you are having trouble saying ‘no’ to those adorable eyes:

For the average 5kg cat: a glass of milk is equivalent to a human eating 3 hamburgers! (not to mention the fact that cats can’t digest the lactose in cow’s milk)

For a 10kg dog: a 30g piece of cheese is equivalent to a human eating 1.5 hamburgers!

The best news is, we have diets available that will actually help your pet lose weight, including one to increase your pet’s metabolic rate. We are happy to say that many of our patients have had great success with these so you should ask us for more information.

Helping your pet lose weight is easier than you think and we will help support you and your pet through the process.